By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-A group, Vanguard for the Protection of Rights of Citizens in Nigeria,took to the streets of Abuja, Tuesday, to protest what it called “the monumental corruption in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.”
The group which noted that the management of the commission has deviated from the set goal that informed the setting up of the commission, asked that it be reverted to the direct control and supervision of the Presidency “as it used to be.”
Speaking during a protest rally that culminated at the National Assembly gate, Abuja,the Acting Public Relations Director, of Vanguard for the Protection of Rights of Citizens in Nigeria, Mr Bitrus Yakubu, said the group “believe that the NDDC under the direct control of the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, as currently instituted, has become prone to unethical manipulation and abuse for reasons that are inimical to the general interest and wellbeing of the oil rich Niger Delta region.”
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A prepared text he presented to news men at the rally read in part:”The ongoing wave of allegations and counter allegations of sleaze between officials of the ministry and commission serve as sufficient proof that the NDDC has been cornered by selfish politicians and bureaucrats for utterly selfish reasons, and the poor and helpless people of the region, for whole the commission was created to pull out of penury, have become worse off due to the endemic corruption in the ministry and commission.
“Therefore since there is an overwhelming growth of voices urging the federal government to revert the interventionist agency to the Presidency, it should be seen as a vote of confidence on the ability and integrity credentials of the President Muhammadu Buhari led Presidency to instill discipline and accountability in the NDDC.
“More so is the fact that the ongoing revelations of sleaze at the commission stemmed from the forensic auditing ordered by the President, which was purely aimed at repositioning it to serve the generality of the people of Niger Delta.
“We therefore call upon President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order the reversal of the NDDC under the direct control and supervision of the Presidency, and we also call upon both chambers of the National Assembly to support the president in this regard.
“We believe that if it is done, it will also help in the proper evaluation of the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs itself apart from helping it not to appropriate the projects of the NDDC as its own projects executed with its own budget.”
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